Emerging ‘mini-organ’ technology provides platform for study of tissue-specific diseases.
The MDI Biological Laboratory (Bar Harbor, Maine, USA) has announced that it will offer a one-week intensive course, May 27—June 2 2018, entitled “Applications of Organoid Technology”, in partnership with Hubrecht Organoid Technology (The HUB), a non-profit organization based in Utrecht, Netherlands.
The new biomedical innovation course, which will take place at the laboratory’s Maine campus, is geared to advanced graduate students, post-doctoral trainees and researchers at all levels who want to learn the basics of organoid culture and the most recent developments in the organoid field.
The course will use cultures from the Living Biobank at The HUB, which include organoids from patients with cystic fibrosis and various forms of cancer. The HUB is founded on the pioneering work of Hans Clevers (Utrecht, Netherlands) who discovered methods to grow stem cell-derived human epithelial mini-organs from the tissues of patients with various diseases. The students will also develop their own organoids from mouse cells.
Organoids stably maintain the genotype/phenotype of the patient’s diseased tissue. They are small enough to be sustained without a blood supply, but large and diverse enough to provide insight into tissue development and whole-organ physiology. The ability to grow organoids allows scientists to use these three-dimensional mini-organs for modeling disease, screening drugs and potentially even replacing defective tissue.
“We are proud to add the organoid course to our roster of biomedical innovation courses, which also includes courses on aging and regenerative biology,” said Jane E. Disney, director of education at the MDI Biological Laboratory. “Our organoid course is one of only a handful in the United States to offer an intensive experience in organoid technology. The course is geared to scientists who want to incorporate this emerging technology into their own laboratories.”
MDI Biological Laboratory scientists are pioneering new approaches to regenerative medicine focused on the development of drugs that activate the body’s natural ability to heal and slow age-related degenerative changes. The organoid course complements the institution’s mission by helping fill in the gap between preclinical drug development and human trials.
The directors of the organoid course are Hugo de Jonge, professor at Erasmus University Medical Center (Erasmus MC; Rotterdam, Netherlands), and a visiting professor at the MDI Biological Laboratory, and Robert Vries, managing director at Foundation Hubrecht Organoid Technology. Faculty members are Sylvia F. Boj, scientific director at Foundation Hubrecht Organoid Technology, and Gert-Jan Kremers, director of the imaging center at Erasmus MC.